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Definitions


  • "Environmental justice is achieved when everyone, regardless of race, culture, or income, enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work." (U.S. EPA Environmental Justice Program)
  • "A condition of environmental justice exists when environmental risks and hazards and investments and benefits are equally distributed with a lack of discrimination, whether direct or indirect, at any jurisdictional level; and when access to environmental investments, benefits, and natural resources are equally distributed; and when access to information, participation in decision making, and access to justice in environment-related matters are enjoyed by all." (Central and Eastern European Workshop on Environmental Justice. Budapest, December 2003)
  • "An environmental injustice exists when members of disadvantaged, ethnic, minority or other groups suffer disproportionately at the local, regional (sub-national), or national levels from environmental risks or hazards, and/or suffer disproportionately from violations of fundamental human rights as a result of environmental factors, and/or denied access to environmental investments, benefits, and/or natural resources, and/or are denied access to information; and/or participation in decision making; and/or access to justice in environment-related matters." (Central and Eastern European Workshop on Environmental Justice. Budapest, December 2003)

Also see: Principles of Environmental Justice, adopted at the  First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991, in Washington D.C., USA.

(Image from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.)

Resources


  • Center for Diversity and the Environment: Nonprofit organization working to racially and ethnically diversify the American environmental movement by developing leaders, diversifying institutions, and building community.
  • Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University: research, policy, and information clearinghouse on issues related to environmental justice, race and the environment, and civil rights.
  • Environmental Justice Foundation: A U.K.-based nonprofit organization. "EJF believes that protecting the environment is not just about quality of life, it is a question of life and death for the world's poorest people. We believe that environmental security is a human right."
  • Global Exchange: A membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world.
  • Indigenous Environmental Network: "A network of Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous Nations and communities towards sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice and maintaining the Sacred Fire of our traditions."
  • Scorecard Community Center (by Environmental Defense): Environmental Justice : Scorecard profiles environmental burdens in every community in the U.S., identifying which groups experience disproportionate toxic chemical releases, cancer risks from hazardous air pollutants, or proximity to Superfund sites and polluting facilities emitting smog and particulates. Environmental justice analyses are also available in spanish.
  • The Working Group on Environmental Justice of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research and The Extension School, Harvard University: Introduction to Environmental Justice (course)

U.S. Government Environmental Justice Policies and Information


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